Then you talk to the show's therapist. She gets serious in a hurry, asking if you've ever cheated on someone, if you have a history of mental illness, or if you're an angry drunk. Next it's on to the show's private investigator, who's looking into whether you've ever been arrested, made a sex tape, had a DUI, or done something else scandalous. Finally there's a medical exam, including blood and urine samples, as well as a detailed medical history questionnaire. If you've had an STD, you're out.
If you think that's all to screen out crazy people, you're only sort of right. It's also to screen out those who are too normal. The producers are looking for a window within which you're not unstable, per se, but are a little ... out there.
Think of it this way: If you're borderline suicidal and have never cheated on your partner, those are both red flags by Bachelor standards. The producers want their contestants to be vulnerable and full of juicy stories. So if you've struggled with depression and might break down at a stressful time, but were also once arrested for drunkenly streaking, your odds are pretty promising. Or as one producer explained, if someone involved in picking contestants says, "This chick is going to go fucking nuts," that's not a bad thing.
ABC Studios"Remember, you want to be 'Throw a hot curling iron at someone' crazy, not 'Stab them with a nail file' crazy."
The contracts the contestants sign are also onerous. You have to accept that you get zero privacy, that you could be lied to, and that you could be subjected to verbal or even physical aggression. You also have to accept that the show may (read: probably will) use your personal history to ridicule and humiliate you on national TV. If you're wondering why anyone would agree to all that, the answer is that most people don't bother reading the contract. As one former contestant pointed out, people who are willing and able to drop everything for six weeks just to play-date a stranger may not be in the greatest place in their lives. If you're going that far already, how bad could the fine print be?
Mark is on Twitter and has a book.
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